Random Review: Giraffage, Needs
It’s always refreshing to hear musicians push themselves beyond the boundaries of their given genre. When you think about it, successfully merging two or more disparate sounds is not only unique, it’s incredibly rare. Every so often, we see projects executed with enough success to give us hope for the effort. For example, when James Blake, the British electronic singer-songwriter known for his subdued, minimal style, combined the intricate Aaliyah track, “Are You That Somebody?” with the raw, aggressive “Caught Out There” by Kelis, the resulting single, “CMYK,” was a pleasant surprise rather than a disaster. Likewise, when Calvin Harris, the Scottish producer whose typical sound could be described as upbeat and intense, teamed up with the normally-ethereal songstress Florence Welch, the finished product, “Sweet Nothing,” offered the best of both worlds.
Which brings us to Charlie Yin, the up-and-coming producer better known as Giraffage. The San Francisco urbanite has a knack for capturing the smooth essence of R&B and seamlessly marrying it with audio elements typically found in electronic music. Yin uses his new album, Needs, to show off that very skill.
Lead single “Close 2 Me” is a perfect example. The track samples the early ‘90s pop song, “Touch Me All Night Long” by Cathy Dennis, and reinterprets it as a sensual late night jam with a stripped down beat, ornamental percussion, and Dennis’ melodic vocals in all of their sampled glory. The result is hypnotic, leaving listeners with no choice but to chill like it’s 1991 again.
Yin flexes his hip-hop chops with the track “Money,” asking you to groove along with him as he mixes classic EDM climaxes with liquid-smooth R&B depth. The song builds up multiple times throughout, bringing you from chill to upbeat with effortless transitions. Giraffage’s “Undress U” takes R. Kelly’s “Freaky In The Club” and turns the light-hearted R&B tune into a vulnerable, yet sexual groove with its haunting vocals and gradual build up. Yin slows down the tempo found in the original track and creates an incredibly soulful final product that seamlessly mixes the vibes of R&B and electronic music.
Overall, Needs is a success, with Yin proving that electronic music indeed has soul. Check out and download his album for free on Bandcamp.